Ridgely A. Abele


Chief Instructor of Shuri-ryu Karatedo appointed by O'Sensei Robert Trias, 9th Dan

August 9, 1950 - December 10, 2009

"I stand on the shoulders of giants. I did not invent martial arts or Shuri-ryu Karate. I seek to know the past to gain understanding and wisdom. I look to the future, because there is so much more."

Hanshi Abele's Major Martial Arts Accomplishments:

  • 9th Dan Shuri-Ryu Karatedo
  • 7th Dan Shuri-Te Ju-Jutsu
  • 7th Dan US Ju-Jitsu Federation
  • 7th Dan World Karatedo Federation
  • Chief Instructor of Shuri-Ryu Karatedo
  • Elected to the Trias International Society
  • 1985 USKA World Kata Champion
  • Head Coach for the USA Karate Federation 
  • Founder of Kokusai Shurite Yudansha-Kai
  • Author of Karatedo: Art-Sport-Science
  • 2003 Living Legend Pioneer of Karate
  • Class of 2017 Legend of Carolina Martial Arts

Hanshi Ridgely Abele began his martial arts training in 1964 under the direction of Hanshi John Pachivas. In 1971 he was certified to teach Karatedo and Kobudo. In 1979 he opened the Columbia School of Karatedo in Columbia, South Carolina which became a national center for the Martial Arts, Karatedo, Jujitsu, and Okinawan Kobudo. In 1982 Grandmaster Robert A. Trias, Father of Karate in America, appointed him as one of six Chief Instructors of Shuri-ryu Karatedo. Hanshi Abele was a member of the Inner Council for the International Shuri-Ryu Association. He was founder of the International Shurite Yudansha-Kai, a worldwide organization of black belts dedicated to the research and development of Karatedo, Ju-Jutsu and Kobudo. He was a graduate of Florida State University and obtained a Ph.D. in Asian Combative Studies from a Hong Kong University. 

Hanshi Abele traveled, trained and taught extensively throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia (Japan, Hong Kong & China), training with the best martial arts instructors in the world. He produced over 300 black belts throughout the world and maintained schools in the United States and Europe. He was elected to the Trias International Society as one of the most spirited fighters in the country. Hanshi Abele was a former Head Coach for the USA Karate Federation and is a National Licensed Referee who served as chief referee for two world championships.

Hanshi Abele achieved national and international acclaim in the Martial Arts as the winner of regional, national, and international tournaments, including the (USKA) United States Karate Association Nationals, the First Florida Professional Championships, the United States Karate Association Internationals, and the 1983 USKA World Championships. He placed second in both fighting and forms in the 1984 USKA World Championships, and was the 1985 USKA World Kata Champion.

In 2003 Hanshi Abele was inducted into the Living Legends as a pioneer of sport karate and in 2017 he was inducted into the Legends of Carolina Martial Arts recognizing him as a true pioneer of traditional Martial Arts in the Carolinas.

Mr. Abele is the author of Karatedo: Art-Sport-Science, one of the best martial arts books ever published with a wealth of knowledge on Shuri-ryu and Karatedo in general. 

Hanshi Abele's most notable students left to carry his torch are Kyoshi Vitus Bilking, Kyoshi Troy Price, Tommy Hood, and Kyoshi Rick Scoppe.  Mr. Abele left a legacy that will remain until the end of time.  He was a man of impeccable character and faith who had a divine gift of teaching that left an everlasting effect on students blessed to be part of his lineage. Hanshi Ridgley Abele passed away at 59 years old on December 10, 2009 after battling cancer. He will never be forgotten.